September 27, 2020

The Delays of Love

Passage: John 11:1-16
Service Type:


Imagine a scenario

A medical emergency – calling the Emergency Services

What happens next?

8 minutes for a Category A ambulance – not 4 days as in the case with Lazarus

Human do not like waiting

Delays often have consequences
Humans cause delay
We often think there can be delays with God

Does it appear that Jesus is indifferent to Lazarus?
Do you feel that God is delayed in an are of your life?

We forget how things work in life

Is it not often that delays are an ideal learning experience?
Personal example – often you have to go down before you can go up
Delays can hurt, but they often move us to a higher mountain

Overview: four things about this delay

A Loving Delay (v5)

Mary and Martha loved the Lord Jesus

Jesus loved both Mary and Martha
Jesus loved Lazarus

He loved them all by name

He loved them with a human love
He loved them with a divine love
v3 & v 35 – phileo: friendship love [human]
v5 – agape: self-sacrifical love [divine]

Personal example of son
v5 – Because Jesus loved them: Jesus was going to do something for them

His divine love for them was the reason for the delay
The reason for the delay was because Jesus loved them

God has big love for us

God loves us more than just to give us a comfortable life

A Complete Delay (v6)

People were expecting a healing miracle – but something special for Jesus’ friend

However, Jesus did nothing

We do not have a God of infinite predictability

We cannot tell what God will do
In this passage – God did the opposite of what we thought He would do

He delayed

A knowledgeable delay
A silent delay
A long delay – two days
A voluntary delay

Jesus could have healed Lazarus with one look, word or thought

How can this be?
In God’s big love there is room enough for mystery
Examples – C. S. Lewis

Don’t play the blame game
Has God given you something to keep you going – v4
Keep looking in the right direction

A Tragic Delay

What happened during those two days of delay?

Two examples:

A visitor to Lazarus was saved
Stayed on the level

No – he died

The worst case scenario

It was a family loss
Deep spiritual confusion

The Lord Jesus did not come for Lazarus – elaboration
Isaiah 63:

In all our affliction – He is afflicted
God has not finished yet

A Blessed Delay (v14)


Whatever our suffering or delay – God has a purpose
So often it is that ‘we might believe’

v15 – Jesus was glad / He ‘rejoiced’

He rejoices at the prospect of growing faith
You can see the limits of Mary and Martha’s faith

They believed he could be healed
They did not believe he could be raised from the dead

Our there limits to our faith?

Closing Remarks

Sometimes for faith to grow – it has to go down into the valley before going up to the taller mountain

We don’t always understand why the Lord delays
Two options:

We can wait for eternity and look back on the delay and thank God
We can thank Him now – when we don’t understand